Have you ever used a software product or a feature and are trying to understand why it exists? Have you wondered who will use this product or service? *
These questions can be answered through product discovery, a feedback process within product management that helps organizations understand their customers' needs and validate new product ideas before investing time and resources into development.
If it is not yet the case, product discovery should be an integral component of your business strategy.
The product team needs to conduct product discovery when there needs to be more clarity on what product or feature to develop or build next.
Product development can be very expensive, time-consuming, and building something based on gut feelings is risky if the team can’t answer who will use it and what it is solving.
Before investing any resources, we need to answer the question, for each project, what is the work to be done for my product or service? Who will hire it?
Product discovery will require collaboration between several teams, such as product managers, designers, developers, and stakeholders. This process involves research, experimentation, and validation. Product discovery aims to create a product or a new feature of an existing product that solves a real problem for users and provides real value in the market.
What is product discovery : where to start?
The product discovery process typically begins with an idea or a problem that needs to be solved. This is, in fact, one of the main goals !
The first phase is gathering insights to better understand the problem. the product team will have conversations with current and potential customers and stakeholders to identify and comprehend pain points, challenges and ideate possible solutions.
Product discovery also involves conducting market research and can include competitive analysis, running interviews, user surveys, and focus groups or design thinking. As you imagine, the more insights about customer needs, behaviors, and persistent problems we get, the less assumptions we do.
Collecting critical information - get some insights
Throughout the product discovery research process, the team should strategize on measurable or quantitative data to analyze customers’ pain points and measure solution success. On the other hand, qualitative data provide subjective information about a product’s usability and user experience to help the team understand opportunities for improvement.
By combining both product metrics we can have a comprehensive view of what’s working well, uncover opportunities for our product, and make data-driven decisions to cater to the needs of our customers and drive business success.
Ideation in product discovery - find the best solution to solve you customer’s problem
Once the problem space has been defined, the next step of the product discovery process is to brainstorm and design various potential solutions. This can be done through design thinking workshops, rapid prototyping, or sketching exercises.
The key is to ideate several potential solutions and avoid considering only the first one that the team can think about.
Furthermore, some ideas to solve pain points might include implementation and feasibility risks.
Validation - the final stage in the product discovery process
After a range of solutions has been generated, the next step is to validate the solutions through experimentation and user testing.
This can involve creating mockups or prototypes of the product and testing them with real users to gather feedback and validate the solution.
These prototypes will not be perfect from the start, as this is an iterative process until we can find the one that addresses the needs of our customers.
The experimentation and user testing results can then be used to refine the product solution and make informed decisions about what to build next.
After this phase, the product’s goals will be clear, and the product team will know where to focus its resources and efforts to develop the right product or service.
What are the advantages of adopting a product discovery strategy?
One of the key benefits of product discovery is that it helps organizations avoid the common pitfall of building a product that nobody wants and gain clarity on where to focus development resources.
By conducting thorough research and experimentation, product discovery inspires your team to challenge their own assumptions.
Indeed, product managers can validate that their product idea is aligned with customer needs and has a real chance of success in the market. The key is to help the team focus on real customer problems.
Another benefit of product discovery is that it helps organizations make informed decisions about how to allocate resources and prioritize development efforts.
By conducting thorough research and validation, product managers can clearly understand which product features are most important to users and which are less critical, allowing them to focus their efforts on the most impactful areas.
Through product discovery, the organization can uncover additional ways to expand business with complementary products or services, and realize new customer segments. It is a key point for growth strategy.
Furthermore, the team can kick off the discovery cycle again to learn more about their needs and pain points to narrow down what should be built.
Also, the product team should refer to product discovery practices when thinking about building new features on top of an existing product or service.
Again, developing additional functionality will only make sense if we consider solving new problems and increasing user experience.
Product discovery also helps organizations build a culture of experimentation and validation.
By encouraging teams to test and validate their ideas continuously, organizations can foster a culture of continuous improvement and ensure that their products are constantly creating value and aligned with customer needs.
It should be considered a team effort by involving individuals such as product managers, UI/UX designers, developers, business stakeholders, data analysts, etc., and encourage idea sharing to make the process more robust. Hence, everyone will feel part of the solution.
Product discovery should be a continuous process that occurs throughout the product lifecycle. Product managers should continuously gather feedback from users, analyze market trends, and experiment with new ideas to ensure that their products continue to provide real value to users over time.
This process should also align with the business goals and have a clear set of key process indicators or KPIs to track the product's performance. Otherwise, it will become hard for your company to measure success.
Product discovery is a critical stage in the product design and development process that helps organizations to get insights to understand their customers' needs, validate new product ideas, and make informed decisions about development efforts.
By conducting thorough research, experimentation, and validation, product managers can ensure that their products provide real value to users and have a real chance of success in the market.
At Screeb, we help our clients and their teams to work on their product discovery and create better products.
From product discovery to product delivery, we assist designers and researchers to form an intimate understanding of their target user, and truly uncover their main problems and—in turn—the best potential solutions